Monday, February 1, 2010

Rabbit Food, Eccentrics and Sunshine

After sewing for six hours on Saturday, I woke up Sunday morning craving sunshine, fresh air and a focal point that wasn't six inches in front of my face. I needed a day of mental health.

I drove into Beverly Hills and visited my friend Amanda Eliasch at her Hal Levitt-designed aerie on the top of Mulholland. Photographer, author and fashion editor-at-large for Genlux magazine, she was in town from London for a few weeks to start work on a new play with her co-writer Lyall Watson and to take advantage of the California weather (although the recent deluge had her thinking she was still in England).
(Amanda in Hollywood, 2009)

Both clad in black, we lay on Balinese chaises overlooking a glistening view that stretched to the ocean and caught up on each other's lives. The Grammy Awards were that night, although neither of us were going this year. "Darling, you know pop music just isn't my raison d'etre," she said emphatically.
(Photo: Amanda Eliasch)

Bathed in sunny light, I closed my eyes and tried to soak up all the lovely energy that was surrounding me. I wanted to fully absorb the joy of just doing nothing. Around us, palm trees swayed, birds gossiped and every now and then a muffled reminder of civilization would waft lazily up to us from the distant canyons.

We spoke about writing (Amanda has a fascinating personal blog), travelling and at one point, tried in vain to remember an artist known for his wallpaper who was a contemporary of Eric Ravilious. It was too much effort to sift through our memory banks for his name, so we let it go and allowed our thoughts to drift, bob and meander at will.

For this trip to California, she had flown in a highly-touted chef from Brazil to put her and Lyall on a strict cleansing diet: no coffee, alcohol, starch, sugar, dairy or red meat. They were ten days into the thick -- err, thin -- of it and were looking chic and svelte, as was the chef, who was a virtual doppelganger of Penelope Cruz. I wanted in.

Lunch was equal parts intimidating and delicious.
(High-protein black rice with zucchini-squash rillettes;
photo courtesy of Amanda Eliasch)

Driving home down the winding roads, I felt emotionally refreshed, physically nourished and totally in command of my senses, proof of which was that the name of the artist I blanked on suddenly popped into my head: Edward Bawden. Love him. Another famed English eccentric, his graphic linocut designs feel just as fresh and modern today.
(Pigeon and Clocktower Wallpaper, 1927)

(Hare and Tortoise linocut, 1970)

(Design for wrapping paper, "Deer and Trees", 1960)

(Kew Gardens, 1936)

Wit, warmth and a recipe for weight loss...not a bad way to spend a Sunday afternoon.


Pamela Terry and Edward said...

I adore Amanda's blog!
And those fabulous Bawden designs!
I, um, am afraid I would need more explanation about the lunch however.

ArchitectDesign™ said...

what a lovely day. It beats our cold and snow we have here on the east coast!

JMW said...

I could use a day basking in the sun. We've not had much of that here! I enjoy Amanda's blog as well - sounds like you both had a nice visit.

Lisa Borgnes Giramonti said...

Pamela Terry and Edward: The lunch was black rice (higher in nutrients) with zucchini squash rillettes. VERY healthy but honestly, quite tasty!

Laura [What I Like] said...

Your day sounds absolutely delicious. I must say Amanda doesn't look quite as though she blends in L.A. (but then she would stand out anywhere) must be a breath of fresh air to have her in town!

Lisa Borgnes Giramonti said...

Laura (What I Like): Amanda doesn't blend in anywhere. :) She wore platform sneakers to visit the hill tribes of Myanmar and donned couture in the souks of Marrakech....but she's thoroughly fascinating, a real society figure with the brain of Edith Sitwell trapped in the body of a a post-modern huntress.

katiedid said...

Well I am so glad you remembered! Fresh and modern now I am off to visit Amanda's blog.

Oh....and not going to the Grammy's ....this year? Does this mean you have been in years past? Fun? Crazy? Boring? How were they?!

Errant Aesthete said...

"...she's thoroughly fascinating, real society figure with the brain of Edith Sitwell trapped in the body of a post-modern huntress."

One would imagine that membership in your circle would be greatly coveted. I can't remember when I've read such a thoughtfully composed and richly textured tribute to a friend. And I do mean that in the most sincerest sense. What an utterly captivating description.

Bawden's work is enchanting.

Chemin des Muguets said...

I love eccentrics and Bawden designs. So I loved your post. Thanks for that.

Marjorie au "Chemin des Muguets

VictoriaArt said...

What a divine day!
Will check out Amanda's blog!
LOVE Bawden's papers!

And warmth, yes please!


Sneaky Magpie said...

The Bawden designs are to die for, they look fresh with a tiny touch of retro-fabulousness! Love them, and you lunch looks utterly delicious.

TheSpaciousLife said...

I have been reading your blog for a while and had to tell you today that I appreciate the way you notice the little details; life does not pass you by unappreciated!

Scott Fazzini said...

Lisa, dear -The papers are amazing... the food looks divine... and that view -WOW! But, none of this is at intoxicating as your friend, Amanda! I think I have another new virtual crush, although none will compare to you.

French Fancy said...

Oh to live in a world where you can fly in a private chef from Brazil.

Lisa, your life and your friends is so incredible-sounding. So that I can keep a better grip on you and your exploits you are now firmly clamped to my sidebar (but in a very elegant way)

French Fancy said...

Of course I got my tenses wrong - I can't even blame it on my use of French seeming to overtake my use of English these days.But there is no doubt that my grasp of English grammar is falling.

Angie Muresan said...

Oh, I LOVE her blog! She certainly is one of a kind. I wonder what meals I would demand if I had access to a private chef. Somehow, I don't believe it would be of the healthy, toxic cleansing kind.


Hi darling I do so love you... thank you xxxAMANDA

Hannah Stoneham said...

Hi - I love these prints *especially* the Kew Gardens one - inspirational and well balanced blog - thank you it is a pleasure to read! Hannah


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